Tuesday
20
Aug
7.15pm
Back East of Eden
 
Tue
20
Aug
No film notes
class rating
Tuesday, 20 August 2013 at 7.15pm
Iconic Leading Men
  • Drama. Romance
  • 1955
  • USA
  • Colour
  • 115 mins.
 
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East of Eden (1955) is director Elia Kazan's updated re-telling of the Biblical story of rival brothers, Cain and Abel and a paradise lost. Writer Paul Osborn's screenplay adapted John Steinbeck's 1952 novel with the same title for this dramatic Warner Bros. film. [The film tells only a small portion of Steinbeck's work, leaving out the childhood of the parents and the Chinese character of Lee.] One of the film's posters exclaimed:

East of Eden is a story of explosive passions and Elia Kazan has made it into a picture of staggering power.

James Dean represents the unappreciated son Cal (representing Cain) who vies against his dull, stuffy brother Aron (representing Abel) for the affections of their father. The maligned Cain character, representing the unlikeable and outcast Kazan himself (for naming names before the HUAC Committee in 1952), becomes the hero of this film. As the poster stated, "Sometimes you can't tell who's good and who's bad!..." (This was the only one of James Dean's three major films released before his death.)

The film, set in 1917 at a time just before the US entry into World War I, portrays the relationship between insecure, tortured, neurotic loner Caleb "Cal" Trask (James Dean, his first major role and film) and his dutiful, favored brother Aron (Richard Davalos) - twin sons. Their father is a stern, hardened, devoutly religious, self-righteous man, Adam (Raymond Massey), a lettuce farmer living with his family in Salinas, California.

[For more, click on FILM NOTES ]



Director:

 
Elia Kazan

Cinematographer:

 
Ted D. McCord

Screenplay:

 
Paul Osborn

Cast:

 
James Dean. Julie Harris. Raymond Massey.
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